1/2 pound French green lentils such as du Puy
1/4 cup good olive oil, plus extra for salmon
2 cups chopped yellow onions
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts only
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 1/2 cups chopped celery (4 stalks)
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots (3 carrots)
1 1/2 cups Homemade Chicken Stock or good canned broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons good red wine vinegar
4 (8-ounce) center-cut salmon fillets, skin removed
Place the lentils in a heat-proof bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside for 15 minutes, then drain.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a sauté pan, add the onions, leeks, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the celery, carrots, chicken stock, tomato paste and lentils. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Add the vinegar and season to ¬taste.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
For the salmon, heat a dry oven-proof sauté pan over high heat for 4 minutes. Meanwhile, rub both sides of the salmon fillets with olive oil and season the tops with salt and pepper. When the pan is very hot, place the salmon fillets seasoning-sides down in the pan and cook over medium heat without moving them for 2 minutes, until very browned. Turn the fillets and place the pan in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes, until the salmon is cooked rare. Spoon a mound of lentils on each plate and place a salmon fillet on top. Serve hot.